THE REAL GUJARAT

Key Info

  • DURATION 8 nights / 9 days
  • ACTIVITY GRADING Easy
  • BEST TIME TO TRAVEL October to April

Highlights

  • Heritage walking tour of Ahmedabad
  • Safari to Wild Ass sanctuary
  • Safari to Gir National park
  • Famous step wells of Gujarat

DAY 1:

ARRIVE MUMBAI

Arrival at Mumbai international airport following baggage collection, our representative will meet you at the ARRIVALS TERMINAL building. Transferred to hotel.

DAY 2:

MUMBAI– AHMEDABAD by flight

Morning transfer to airport to connect flight back to Ahmedabad.

Ahmedabad, founded in the year 1411 AD is located on the banks of river Sabarmati and has been named after Sultan Ahmed Shah, who was primarily responsible for building it. Today, this city is known as the 'Manchester of the East', one of the highly industrialized cities in India and is also India's Textile City. Though the capital of Gujarat was shifted from Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar, it is still the second largest industrial city in western India. The old city of Ahmedabad is dotted with labyrinthine by lanes called 'polls'. The exquisite carved wooden mansions and havelis are in no manner less than their stone counterparts in Rajasthan.

DAY 3:

AHMEDABAD — MODHERA — PATAN — DASADA (240 Km / 4 ½ hour)

Drive to Dasada en-route visit Adalaj, Modhera&Patan.

Adalaj Vav about 19 kms north of Ahmedabad this stepwell is an architectural wonder built by Queen Rudabai and is certainly one of the finest monuments of Gujarat. It is a seven-storied structure in the form of a wellwith chambers one behind the other. The 'Vays' or stepped wells of Gujarat were used as meeting and resting-places during summer since their cool interiors offered unbelievable respite from the scorching sun outside.In the summer people warmed themselves on the spacious sunny corridors while wide verandahs offered shelter during the rains.Adalaj is a village to the north of Ahmedabad.

Modhera.The Sun temple of Modhera is one of the finest examples of Indian architecture of its period. Built in 1026 A.D. the temple is dedicated to the Sun-God, Surya and stands high on a plinth overlooking a deep stone-steeped tank. Every inch of the edifice, both inside and outside is magnificently carved with Gods and Goddesses, birds, beasts and flowers. Sun Temple of Modhera was built by King Bhimdev I (1026-27)and bears some resemblance to the later, and far better known, Sun Temple of Konark in the state of Orissa, which it predates by some 200 years. Like that temple, it was designed so that the dawn sun shone on the image of Surya, the sun God, at the time of the equinoxes. The main hall and shrine are reached through a pillared porch and the temple exterior is intricately and delicately carved. As with the temple of Somnath, this fine temple was ruined by Mahumad of Ghazni.

Patan home of the famous patola silk saris, Patan is a beautiful old town with Jain temples and carved wooden houses. Ranikivav (step well) is an excellent example of subterranean architecture of Gujarat. The exisquisitely carved side walls, pillars, beams, series of steps & platforms lead to the elaborately carved water well. Every surface is adorned with finellychiseled sculptures of maidens & Hindu deities, religious motifs & geometrical patterns. Rani kiVav represents the finest of the Indian sculptures and architecture. Later continue your drive to Dasada.

The Little Rann of Kutch, which covers an area of roughly 5,000 square km, is primarily known as the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary. The sanctuary was established in 1972 as the last natural habitat of the Indian Wild Ass (EquusHemionusKhur). One of the three surviving species of the Wild Ass in the world-the other two being found in Central Asia and in and around Tibet-the Khur is high on the list of endangered species.

Days 4

DASADA — BHAVNAGAR (245 Km / 6 hour)

Morning safari of Wild Ass Sanctuary located near the edge of the Little Rann Of Kutch, the only sanctuary for the Asiatic wild ass in India. The highlight of this sanctuary is the Asiatic wild ass or gudkhur that is endemic to the region & is one of the most endangered species in the world. Other mammals that could be seen are nilgai, black buck antelope, chinkara gazelle, Indian wolf, Indian desert foxes, jackals & lesser cats. Also is a paradise for bird watchers.

The key dryland birds are Mcqueen'shoubara bustard, chestnut bellied & spotted sandgrouse, Indian coursedr, 13 speices of larks & sparrow larks, 5 of quails (including buttonquails), thick-knee, desert warbler, desert & variable wheatear, aquila eagles, short toed snake eagle, six species of falcon & three harriers. Five species of vulture have been recorded). Apart from all these you can hope to see greater & lesserflamingo, three speices of pelican, spoonbill, demossille& common cranes, and a number of ducks in flocks of several thousand during winters. Later continue your drive to to Bhavnagar.

Bhavnagarwas founded by BhavsinhjiGohil in 1723 AD near the Gulf of Khambhat, on a carefully chosen strategic location having potential of maritime trade. Till independence, Bhavnagar State was ruled by the Gohil Rajput clan.The old town of Bhavnagar was a fortified town with gates leading to other important towns of the region. The Darbargadh (royal residence) was located at the center of the town. The rulers of Bhavnagar subsequently shifted to Motibag and Nilambag Palace.

DAY 5:

BHAVNAGAR — PALITANA — SASANGIR (290 Km / 6 hour)

Mornign drive to Palitana.

Palitana is situated about 51 Kms south west of Bhavnagar. It is about 182m above sea level hill and is the base for the nearby top complex of Shatrunjaya. "SHATRUNJAYA" literallymeans the place of victory and is Jain's most sacred pilgrimage site. At the foot of the hill flows the ShatrunjayaRiver.The hill has about 863 shrines. These temples, built over a period of 900 years. Shatrunjaya is the largest temple City of its kind in India. The hillside is about 3' ~2 Kms up with 3950 steps. The temples arc grouped into nine enclosures. Each has a central temple with smaller ones clustered around.Local traditions and legends tell the stories about Adinatha, the first Jain tirthankan. His temple is quite notable. Next to it is the Muslim Shrine of "AngarPir" where women wanting children offer prayers and tiny cradles.

Later after visiting Jain temples you will be driven to Sasangir.

Gir is the only home in India for the Asiatic Lion of which there are nearly 300 in the park. The Gir National Park lies in the Gujarat peninsula in South-Western India. The terrain is rugged with low hills and the vegetation is mixed deciduous, with stands of Teak, Acacia, Jamun, Tendu and Dhak trees, interspersed with large patches of grasslands. The trees on the hills are sparse and stunted.

DAY 6:

SASANGIR — SOMNATH — JUNAGADH — GONDAL (180 Km / 5 hour)

Morning game drive at Gir national Park.

Drive to Gondal en-route visit Somnath and Junagadh.

The shore temple of Somnath is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.The present incarnation of the temple was commissioned by Sardar Patel in the 1950s. The temple has imposing architecture and a beautiful sight facing the blue expanse of the Arabian Sea.One of the most revered &important centers of culture & nationalism, the legendary temple contains a jyotirlinga. Looted & destroyed, built & rebuilt several times.It represents the eternal beauty & strength of the Indian society. The present splendid structure was Shree Somnath is first among the twelve Aadijyotirhngsof India. It has a strategic location on the western coast of India.

Junagadh,The Buddhist caves are fine examples of rock cut architecture with ornamented pillars, carved entrances, water cisterns, chaitya hall, monastic cells formeditation and chaltva windows. The Adi-KadiVav (15th century) has a long flight of 120 steps leading to water. 3630 ftGirnar Mountain is the major tourist attraction. Beautiful carved Jain Temple is at 600ft. Famous Naminath, 22ndtirthankara marble temple is also here. Dattatreya temple on the top of the hill. There is also goddess Amba Mara temple. Gorakhnath Peak is at 3666ft. Visitors must climb 5,500 steps to reach the top of the hill. All the Jain temples dedicated to the Tirthankars are a must see. But the Neminath temple is the main one, made of black marble, and adorned with exquisitely carved sculptures and engravings. This temple attracts the maximum number of devotees. There is also one of the famous Rock Edicts of King Asoka, belonging to the 3rd century BC, at the foot of one of the hills.

After sightseeing coutinue your drive to Gondal.

DAY 7:

GONDAL — LOTHAL — AHMEDABAD (265 Km / 7 hour)

Morning city tour of Gondal.

Post lunch drive to Ahmedabad en-route visit Lothal(Note: Closed on Friday).

Lothal, a perfect place to get an insight of the Indus Valley civilization.The most dominating site at Lothal is the massive dockyard spanning an area of 37 meters by 22 meters perhaps the greatest work of Maritime Architecture. Lothal was also famous for its arterial streets, microbes of gold, ivory and coppersmiths' workshops, potteries and underground sanitary drainage. Continue your drive to Ahmedabad.

Days 8

AHMEDABAD —MUMBAI FLIGHT

Morning early breakfast followed by check out from hotel & visit Hathesing Temple, Sabarmati Ashram &Akshardham Temple.

Hathesing Temple

A rich Jain merchant built this temple outside Delhi Gate in 1850. It is built of pure white marble and profusely decorated with rich carvings, dedicated to Dharamnath, the 15thJina or Jain apostle. Embellished with intricate carvings and built in white marble, the Hatheesing Jain temple is one of the best ornate Jain temple in Ahmedabad.

Sabarmati Ashram

The Gandhi Ashram situated alongside the Sabarmati River, was the nerve center for the Indian Freedom movement. The beautiful ashram complex with it's shady trees offers a refuge from the loud streets of the city. There is a museum inside the Ashram complex.

During the lifetime of Mahatma Gandhi it was known as Satyagraha Ashram. After Gandhi'1's return from South Africa, he decided to settle in Ahmedabad.

Later you will be transferred to Ahmedabad airport to board flight to Mumbai.

On arrival in Mumbai, our representative will transfer you to hotel.

  • Optional experience: Walking tour around Kala Ghodaarea

Days 9

DEPART MUMBAI

Morning at leisure.
In time transfer to airport to connect flight back home.



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DELHI

India's capital city, Delhi is the second most widely used entry point into the country, being on the route of most major airlines. It is well linked by rail, air and road to all parts of the country. The remains of seven distinctive capital cities – among them Shahjahanabad and QutabMinar – can be seen. Here, museums, art galleries and cultural centers attract the finest exhibitions and performances from India and abroad. Shopping encompasses virtually everything that can be bought in the country; hotels range from the deluxe to the more modest. Most fascinating of all is the character of Delhi which varies from the 13th century mausoleum of the Lodi kings set in a sprawling park to ultra modern chrome and glass skyscrapers; and from imperial India's Parliament House and the President's Palace to the never ending bustle of the walled city surrounding Jama Masjid. Delhi also makes the ideal base for a series of short excursions to neighbouring places, all connected by road.

The capital of India, Delhi blends an historic past and a vibrant present. The Imperial city planned for the British by Lutyens is set in parks and shaded avenues. Legend has it that Delhi, then called Indraprastha, was originally founded around 1200 B.C. by the Pandavas, the august heroesof the epic Mahabharata. Present day Delhi is built around the ruins of seven ancient cities

HARYANA

This state could well be called a perfect vacation land: A state that blazed a trail of holiday traditions, with its highway tourism policy. The bird named complexes of Haryana Tourism dot the five national highways passing through the state. They also await the holiday maker at district headquarters towns and place of tourist interest. Here you get in touch with Nature. Kick off your shoes and relax with pampered treatment. Eat out at well appointed restaurants. Crowd the icecreamparlours. Gift shops, bars.

Whereas the seventies saw the initial establishment of the tourism strategy and infrastructure, the eighties saw Haryana Tourism concentrate on promoting cultural and pilgrim tourism. The nineties brought in Adventure and Golf Tourism. The turn of the century is seeing Haryana Tourism venturing into privatization, village tourism, development of new locations and the opening of crafts centres. Beginning with one resort in 1966, today Haryana Tourism runs 44 tourist complexes dotted all over the State. The resorts provide a wide range of tourist facilities such as a hotel, motels, restaurants, bars, fast food centres, health clubs, conference halls and recreational facilities like lakes for boating, picnic hides and children's parks. 777 guest rooms are available in the resorts run by Haryana Tourism.

All complexes are dotted with beautiful lakes, picturesque landscaping, golf courses, bath complexes, tennis and billiards facilities. Here Adventure sport means canoeing & kayaking, trekking & rock climbing, camping and river rafting.

HIMACHAL PRADESH

Himachal Pradesh is a tiny hill state whose pleasant summers make it a popular holiday resort. The Raj still lingers in Shimla, the state capital and former summer capital during British rule. Kullu-Manali are neighbouring resorts, surrounded by pine covered hills and lush meadows. Himachal has, in addition to popular resort towns, a series of secluded hill retreats ideal for interested anglers, trekkers and those wanting a quiet getaway. Many of these include: from Shimla – Mashobra, Kufri, Naldehra; those around Kullu-Manali include Manikaran, Naggar and Brighu Lake; the barely accessible valleys of Lahaul and Spiti are a trekker's delight.

JAMMU & KASHMIR

Jammu and Kashmir, India's fascinating northernmost state consists of three regions differing in topography and culture. Jammu was the stronghold of Hindu Dogra kings and abounds with popular temples and secluded forest retreats. Kashmir's capital city, Srinagar offers delightful holidays on the lakes with their shikaras and houseboats.

Ladakh is the northern most province of the state, with a bleak terrain of barren mountains. Hilltop monasteries and a colourful way of life, completely at one with the surroundings, make Ladakh one of the best living traditions of Tibetan Buddhism in the world today.

Amongst the three regions of Jammu & Kashmir State, Jammu, perhaps, offers the widest diversity of terrain and beauty. The entire region is pocketed with lakes and valleys, some still little explored. The foundation of the settlement of Jammu is attributed to King Jambulochan of the 9th century BC. In 1730 AD, it came under the Dogra rule of Raja Dhruv Deva and Jammu became an important centre for arts and culture, now renwned as the Pahari School. Religion, too, played an important part in its development, so beautifully evidenced in its various shrines and temples spread throughout the region.

PUNJAB

Punjab, the land of five rivers and integrated cultural history,is a treasure trove for an avid tourist.For this land of the great gurus not only boasts of ancient monuments but throbs with historical embodiments.It is no secret that whoever comes to this land of yellow fields with blue mountains providing the romantic and picturesque backdrop has never gone back without imbibing the essence of Punjab.

There is no dearth of breathtaking palaces,for Punjab was the seat of royality,as the imposing Quila Mubarak will tell you. Museums galore and so are the religious places with the Golden Temple offering succour to the mind and soul of any one visiting. If you are a wild life freak, then Punjab can take you on a tour of the sanctuaries,which are hot favourites with migratory birds.Since this state borders Pakistan,there are two main posts from which you can peep into the land that was once an integral part of Punjab and experience the feelings of the people separated by a line. The much truncated India's portion of present Punjab is divided into three natural regions :theMajha,theDoaba and the Malwa. Punjab, the chief wheat producing area of the country, is the overland entry point into India. The state is also known for its production of sports and hosiery goods. The holiest shrine for the Sikhs is the Golden Temple in Amritsar, so called because the dome is covered with gold leaf.

AMRITSAR

Amritsar - the holy city of Sikhs, has grown from a sacred village pond intoa spiritual temporal centre of Sikh culture. The city gets its name from thepool-Amritsar (Pool of Nectar), which was constructed by the fourth religiouspreceptor of the Sikh faith. It also lies on the Asain Highway.

CHANDIGARH

The city of Chandigarh lies in the valley surrounded by Shiwalik Hills that hem the great Himalayas. From here one can travel northwards to the hill resorts of Shimla Kulu, Manali, Dharmashala and Dalhousie. Chandigarh is not only the most modern city in the country but has been planned to perfection by the world famous French architect le Corbusier.

RAJASTHAN

Rajasthan, India's desert state, was once a collection of princely kingdoms where feudal traditions still carry on amidst forts and palace hotels.

Bharatpur is famous for its 29 sq km bird sanctuary which has the largest concentration and variety of birdlife in Asia. Throughout the year Bharatpur's native population of tree and water birds can be seen, the latter breeding in July-August. However, the sanctuary has gained worldwide attention as being the winter home of several migratory species including the endangered Siberian crane.

The capital city, Jaipur, was the stronghold of a clan of rulers whose three hill forts and series of palaces in the city are important attractions. Known as the Pink City because of the colour of the stone used exclusively in the walled city, Jaipur's bazaars sell embroidered leather shoes, blue pottery, tie and dye scarves and other exotic wares. Western Rajasthan itself forms a convenient circuit, in the heart of the Thardesert which has shaped its history, lifestyles and architecture. Jodhpur's exquisitely lovely fort, now a museum; art deco royal palace converted into a hotel, and quaint markets, all vividly testify to the history of the princely state. Jaisalmer, in the heart of the desert, is surrounded by sand-dunes which rendered the sand coloured fort impregnable. Today it is an inhabited city whose chief attraction is lacy filigree of pierced stonework facades of private houses, and a series of ornately carved Jain temples.

Bikaner too has echoes of the past in its sandstone palace, temples and cenotaphs. In the north of Rajasthan, Shekhavati is approachable by road from Jaipur. The greatest attraction here are the deserted mansions of local merchants decorated with a profusion of wall paintings. The subjects and styles vary greatly, and are not encountered elsewhere in India. Nearby Dundlod and Mandawa are forts, now converted into charming hotels. Bundi is remarkable for its palace fort and gallery of fine frescoes, executed in the style for which the state is famous.

Approachable by road from Jaipur are Ajmer and Pushkar. Ajmer's pre-eminence is due to the shrine of a Muslim saint who is believed to fulfill one's wishes. Nearby Pushkar has one of the very few temples dedicated to Brahma the Creator. The sleepy town with its placid lake is catapulted into prominence for 10 days every November as India's most splendid camel fair takes place here, attended by thousands of locals flashing jewellery and exuding colour. For the thousands of tourists who visit Pushkar, accommodation is in the form of tents which cater to all budgets.

Also in Rajasthan is the wildlife sanctuary of Sariska where a royal hunting lodge has been converted into a hotel. Sariska's wildlife includes the tiger, panther, deer and antelope.

UTTARAKHAND

Uttarakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India in November 2000. Carved out of the state of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand mainly comprises the hilly regions of Uttar Pradesh. The state borders Himachal Pradesh in the north-west and Uttar Pradesh in the South, and has international borders with Nepal and China. A picturesque state, Uttarancahal has magnificent glaciers, majestic snow-clad mountains, panoramic views of the Himalayas, dense forests and the valley of flowers, as well as some of Hinduism's most sacred pilgrim sites. The State's 13 Districts can be grouped into three distinct geographical regions, the High mountain region, the Mid-mountain region and the Terai region. This is the land where the Vedas and Shastras were composed and great Indian epic, The Mahabharatha, was written.

The state is very rich in natural resources especially water and forests as it has many glaciers, rivers, forests, mountain peaks. The famous peaks of Uttarakhand are Nanda Devi, Kedarnath, Trishul, Bandarpunch and Mt Kamet. The major glaciers include Gangotri, Pindari, Milam and Khatling. The Ganga, The Yamuna, Ramganga and Sharda are principal rivers of this region.

The name Haridwar means "gateway to God", and it is from here that the pilgrimage to two famous temples, Kedarnath (Lord Shiva) and Badrinath (Lord Vishnu) starts. It is situated on the banks of river Ganga, at the foothills of the Shivalikmountains. It is one of the four places where the Kumbhmela is held every 12 years. During this fair, millions of devotees take a holy dip in the river Ganges to wash away their sins. It is said that the pitcher of Amrit was kept in hiding here by Devtas when it was unearthed from SagarManthan. The same pitcher was taken to the other places, i.e. Allahabad, Ujjain and Nasik. In the struggle with Asuras the pitcher broke spilling some sacred water (amrit), since then these places became very holy and the Kumbhmela is held every 3 years in these cities in succession. Every evening, after sunset, aarti of the Ganga is performed in Har-ki-Pauri.

UTTAR PRADESH

In Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow was associated with the princely court of Oudh and then with the British, both traditions lingering on in the city whose finest monument is the Bara Imambara. Further east, Varanasi is the oldest city in India. An important centre of Hindu pilgrimage, it is believed that those who die in Varanasi will be released from the cycle of rebirth. Pious Hindus still come to Varanasi to spend their last days, living in spartan communes run by a multitude of religious trusts. The focus of interest to a visitor is the sacred River Ganga. At the series of steps leading down to it, people come to wash away their sins by bathing in the river, the dead are cremated and holy men meditate. In the narrow bylanes of the city are crowded bazaars selling brassware and silk brocades.